Sunday, October 30, 2005

Manasarovar or Machu Pichu

Anoop Kurian's Manasarovar has won both: money and fame.
The 2.2 million movie was a big success money wise, and at various film festivals it got international recognition too.
Anoop says the backdrop he had in mind for the film was Machu Pichu and not Manasarovar.(Machu Pichu is in Andes mountains in modern Peru. The name of the religious retreat at an elevation of 8000 ft means "manly peak").
But even as the project was progressing a nagging thought remained in some corner of his mind. For his pet project, why should he go after a name that reflect little of his national or cultural perspective? That was how Manasarovar replaced Machu Pichu in the end.

Anoop says he had no idea how to end the film.
Even after the crew landed in Himalayan slops to do the concluding scenes, the director had no idea what those scenes were!
It was then that he saw a Buddhist monk near the location. The monk was very carefully placing a stone on another stone. Anoop enquired the monk what he was doing. The monk explained it was a belief of his people.
If the second stone (or both stones) do not roll down, a wish of the person who had placed the stone would be fulfilled.
That was it.
The mythical and yet charming belief of the monks provided the movie with a poetic ending.

Two Claims for Oraal

It is normal for art films in Kerala to make controversy if directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan or T V Chandran.
But the film by a new comer, Kukku Sreedahr, "Oraal" is in the news now.
One Vinod Narayanan claims it was his story. But Kukku denies it altogether.
Vinod had submitted his story to the weekly Manoraajyam and it did got published in it.Manoraajyam is owned by none other than film producer goodnight Mohan.Uchaveyilil Vanasthali- was the title of the story.
It was about a couple who went to a forest for honeymoon. But in the forest the woman's lover kills the husband . The devastated woman turns against the lover and the disappointed lover tells she may kill him too. And she does exactly that. Then she runs into the deep forest.
And what about the story of Oraal?It tells the story of a psychopath writer ( he is a film maker too ) who think one of the characters of his novel is the secret lover of his fiance. Finally he ends up in a mental asylum chained up.
There is only thing in common in these two stories:
The backdrop is a forest.
It was in last year that writer Babu Bharadwaj claimed that Rajeevnath lifted a story written by him to make the film Moksham in which Seenath Aman was the heroine.
The film failed to get any award but the controversy did not burn out.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

School Bells For Jerry Amal Dev

Twenty five years back, we had a Jassi Gift of that time, named Jerry Amaldev.
By the melodies songs in the film Manjil Virinja Pookkal he swept the minds of audience. His all the songs were hits.
And he of course got the state award for best music director . After that he was flooded with numerous offers.The soft spoken ,naive gentleman accepted all the offers without thinking twice.But many of the films never released.But he could repeat the success in Nokkethaa Doorathu Kannum Nattu, Poovinu Puthiya Poonthennal,Ente Mamaattikkuttiyammakku etc .
Even when the films were not released, his songs began to make waves. Kattupothu is only one example. But today he is outcasted from Malayalam film scenario.
The million Doller question has only one answer:
In an interview he dared to tell straight that the voice of Yesudas was not male according to Europian standards.
Except for some music experts, the readers as a whole surprised and taken aback by this comment. It is altogether another matter that, the magazine being of tiny circulation, the interview was not read by many, and never become a popular talk.
But the damage was done.
Yesudas had got embarrassed by the comment. And he pledged to never sing again with Jerry's tune.And for Jerry, that decision proved to be much more than disastrous. During those days it was impossible for Malayalam film industry to do away with Yesudas.But the industry could very well afford to avoid Jerry.
Thus the scene was set for the downslide of Jerry Amaldev. Jerry, who was a music tutor at an American University at that time, suffered much. He got little offers.Could do only some background scores, and some of them got some awards too.(His his score in Kazhakam defeated Ilayaraja's tune for Kalapani in the running for state award.).
But Jerry was eventually getting limited to the status of a devotional music director.
And were Jeery is today?
He is at Choice School, Kochi.
Teaching school students music.

Will his students repeat his success ?

(Picture: The Hindu)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Timber Thunder

A Timber merchant becomes a crusader, pledged to cleanse the Kerala politics of all evils- that is the story of Suresh Gopi's new film Rashtram. Direction is done by Anil C Menon (Ben Johnson's director). After the runaway success of Udayanaanu Tharam, Carton films produces Rashtram. Story is Sajeevan's. (His previous film was Pauran).
After a long break, Thilakan is doing a major role. The character is the opposition leader of the state and has much in common with the person in real life, Sri VS Achuthanandan.
Madhu, Nedumudi Venu etc are the other actors. Heroine is Laya (Thommanum Makkalum, Alice in Wonderland).
Music is done by Deepak Dev Kaithapram.

Mimicry Singer in Mammooty Film

The well known artist of mimicry stages, Pradeep Palluruthy is singing a fast number in Rajamanikyam, the new film with Mammoooty in lead role.
The music director Alex Paul initially has asked to sing for the tracks.

But the quality of the voice made him to make it the final one.
Cassettes of Rajamanikyam are to be released soon.
The music given by Alex Paul for Thanthra is expected to get noticed for its off beat tune.

Mani, the Money Saver

A silent revolution is taking place in Malayalam film industry.
Or it can be termed the ' Mani magic'.
Recently a series of low budget films made it in the box office only because of Kalabhavan Mani.
Anil C.Menon's Ben Johnson, Anil's Loknathan IAS, Akbar Jose's Andavan and Ravanan were all 'economy' films with the total budget less than 70 lakhs.That means, a mere two weeks in theaters would've made the films break even.
That was why veterans like Milan Jaleel (Ben Johnson), M Mani ( Lokanathan IAS, Ravanan ) and Siyad Kokker ( Andavan ) agreed to do the production.

When even super stars' films with budget above 1. 5 crores are enveloped by uncertainty, these low cost Mani films are good business sense too, to be sure.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Changing Times & Suresh Gopi

There is nothing time can't change: this eternal truth is the basic thread of the film, Paranju Theeraatha Viseshangal, directed by Harikumar.
Suesh Gopi is the lead character and Lakshmi Gopalaswami is the heroin.
Though the works of the film had started three years back, it won't reach the theaters for months. Shortage of funds is the main hurdle.
It was unusual for a serious film that was made mainly to suit the Panorama including a super star among the cast. But then Suresh Gopi was almost a retired star at the time the film production started. He gave the call sheet for just Rs 10 lakhs. And got an advance of 2 lakhs.
Though the shooting somehow progressed through months, no one willing to do the distribution could be found.
So the heroes remuneration was reduced to 8 lakhs. But even that amount was beyond the means of producers at that time. Anyway, Suresh Gopi did complete the schedule.
But refused to do the dubbing.
Then the producers paid, though reluctantly, half the remuneration. But that too failed to persuade the 'super star'.He made it pretty clear that nothing short of the full amount would do. But the producers were not in a position to raise that much amount.
So the film had no option but to go deep freezers.
It was then the miracle happened. As Bharatchandran IPS, Suresh Gopi staged a marvellous comeback. Thanks to the euphoria the success of Bharatchandran brought in, Suresh Gopi agreed to do away with the other half of the 'princely sum'.
Now who would say Suresh Gopi is not generous?!!

Nalini, Neelan and Boyfriend

A minister molests one of his staff. The woman's son is studying in a college in the city. Then on the annual day of the college she too goes. But the Minister was the chief guest and he harass her there too. The son reacts violently and that changes the lives of all- thus goes the story line of Vinayan's new film, Boyfriend.
Lakshmi Gopalaswamy is the govt secretary and Manikkuttan (Kayamkulam Kochunni of Surya TV) is the son.
Sreenivasan, Mukesh, Jagadeesh, hani, Mathumitha etc are the the other actors.
Script: Pallaserry, Music: M Jayachandran.

Lal Jose's New Film

Shooting of Achhanurangaatha Veedu starts on seventh October at Peerumedu.
Salim Kumar is the Achchan in this Lal Jose film. Samvrutha Sunil, Indrajith are also acting. After a long interval, Babu Janardanan is writing script. (Thachiledathu Chundan, Dreams were his scripts). The story is something connected to the Kiliroor Sex scandal. True to his reputation as a disciple of Kamal, what Lal Jose aiming at is an award, at least this time around. Music is Alex Jose's and Manoj, a former assistant of Santhosh Sivan is doing the cinematography.

Mohan Lal has Two Ramazan Films

Four films are busy getting ready for Ramazan release: Anantha Bhadram with Pridhvi Raj in lead role; Raja Manikkyam (Mammootty); Vadakkum Nathan (Mohan Lal); Kilukkam kilukilukkam (Kunchakko Boban).
In Kilukkam Kilukilukkam, Mohan Lal too cooperating, though his appearance is just a guest one.
Of these, the most hopeless project is Vadakkumnathan. Even the songs (such as Yesudas) are impressive, the film might not go well with the audience. Story is Girish Puthanchery's and the director is Shajoon Karyal.
Hariharan was the initial choice for the job of director, and he even had some discussions with the crew. He was not much impressed by the script and had suggested some changes. But the script write refused to make the changes and eventually, Shajoon replaced Hariharan. Johny Sagariga is the distributor.
Vadakkumnathan was the last film for which late Ravindarn did music direction.